Category: Home Office & Productivity

Tax Return Help You Can Really Use

tax return help

There was a time I didn’t need tax return help. My finances were so simple I could get a form at the post office, fill it out and mail it to the IRS the same day. These days my finances and IRS requirements are more complicated. So I pay a CPA to prepare and e-file my returns by the April 15 deadline. Almost everyone can use some help with tax returns. Here are some tips: How to get federal income tax forms and publications Online: IRS.gov IRS  Taxpayer Assistance Centers Order by phone: Call 1 800 829-3676 to order current year forms, instructions and publications. Post offices and libraries: Some post offices and libraries have forms, but call to confirm before you go. How to get state income tax forms and publications Online: Search for “income tax forms” plus the name of your state Post offices and libraries: Some post offices and libraries have forms, but call to confirm before you go. Ways to file Prepare and mail paper returns yourself (free). Fill out and e-file your return with IRS free file or fillable forms. Best for annual income of $69,000 or less. Use a free tax return site. The IRS […]

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The Real ID: Do You Really Need it?

The Real ID or a passport will be required to fly in the U.S. starting October 1, 2020

The government has changed the deadline for obtaining a Real ID from October 2020 to October 2021. Due to the Corona crisis, some states’ DMV offices are closed. Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles to make sure your local office is open. Meanwhile, you may have questions. What is The Real ID? Do I really need it? By when? How and when can I get it? If so, you’ve come to the right place for answers. What’s The Real ID? The Real ID is a state-issued driver’s license or identification card that meets increased federal security standards. Real ID’s have a star on the upper right corner. Starting October 1, 2021, travelers must provide a Real ID or other approved form of identification such as a valid passport to board domestic airlines, enter Federal buildings or visit military installations. Who needs it? If you have a valid U.S. passport you don’t really need a Real ID, but I highly recommend having both. If you depend on your passport and accidentally let it expire or lose it, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise next time you try to board a commercial airline. Tip: If you plan to use your passport, make sure […]

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Learn How to Stop Robocalls and Texts

Stop robocalls and texts

Do you want to know how to stop robocalls and texts? Whether it’s a mobile phone or land line, you’ve probably answered a call that’s an unwanted sales pitch or recorded message. There are laws against unwanted calls and text messages, but marketers and scam artists find ways to get around the rules faster than they can be updated. What you should know about robocalls and texts Not all robocalls are illegal. For instance, market research or polling calls to home land lines are not restricted by FCC rules. Calls on behalf of non-profit groups and calls informing you of things like school closings or flight information are allowed without consent. With a few exceptions auto-dialed or prerecorded calls to wireless phones are prohibited without prior consent. Emergency calls regarding danger to life or safety are allowed. What you can do to limit or stop robocalls and texts Visit the FCC guide for the latest tips on how to stop unwanted robocalls and texts. Register with the U.S. government Do Not Call List. If the caller is a real person ask them to add you to their “do not call” list before hanging up. Don’t interact with robocalls. Hang up. […]

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Keep Your Personal Records Safe in Case of Emergency

Better safe than sorry! Matters of Fact personal records keeper safeguards things the family should know in “the cloud.” Encrypted and password protected, it’s both printable and accessible anywhere there’s internet access. You can share access with a loved one if you choose. In case of a fire or natural disaster, imagine the household records you could lose if stored at home in file cabinets. Recently a friend  reached out to me for help with just such a situation. A fire had devastated the family home. Tragically, her father died in the fire. My friend is faced with reconstructing her father’s personal and household information, all the while dealing with the emotional trauma of his death. Insurance, contact info for lawyers, investment advisors, stockbrokers, bank accounts, real estate owned, business interests, wills and last wishes. These are just a few of the details she will need in order to get through this difficult time. Most people don’t relish keeping detailed records, but Matters of Fact makes it as simple as possible. After entering your info the first time, it takes just a few minutes to update it once a year. I like to update mine in January and keep a […]

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Keeping Personal Records Safe

home office computer

The importance of keeping personal records in a safe place has never been so evident. Keeping personal records may not be one of your favorite things to do, but there are useful tools to help you get started. After that it only takes a few minutes to update details as they change. As I write, more than 170 ,000 acres & 3,500 homes and businesses have burned in California’s Napa and Sonoma counties. There is no end in sight. Recent natural disasters remind me how important it is to keep copies of personal records somewhere outside the home. You can keep records in a safe deposit box at home or in a bank, but even they can burn or flood. Therefore personal record keeping is a great use of the internet. Matters of Fact personal record keeper keeps things the family should know in “the cloud.” Vital information is password protected & encrypted. At the same time records are protected from fire, flood, prying eyes & computer failure. You can print a copy for desk-side reference. In an emergency all you need is a smart phone to access your records online. You can share access with a loved one if […]

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